Sensory issues are a common characteristic in children with dup15q. In her research study Molecular Investigations of Chromosome 15q Duplications in Autism, Dr. Carolyn Schanen asked parents to report on the sensory behavior of their affected children. Approximately half of the kids had some degree of sensitivity to sound and about 65% of them had other sensory aversions at some point in time.
Parents frequently report their child with dup15q experiences sensory modulation disorders. These sensory modulation disorders disrupt the affected individuals’s ability to achieve and maintain an optimal range of arousal and to adapt to challenges in daily life. These disorders are often manifested by an over-responsiveness or under-responsiveness to sensory input or fluctuations in response to sensory input.
Most individuals with sensory modulation disorders have a combination of both sensory defensiveness and sensory dormancy, depending on the event, circumstance, type of sensory stimuli present and familiarity with the environment.
Sensory defensiveness is a constellation of symptoms that are a result of defensive reactions to environmental stimuli, across one or more sensory modalities. It is an over reaction of our normal protective senses.
Individuals with sensory dormancy are, generally speaking, under-responsive to sensory input or lacking sensation and awareness and display an inability to orientate to relevant sensory stimuli. Decreased sensory awareness usually results in deficits in motor planning (dyspraxia) and in motor control.
The overall effect is an inability within the individual to adapt to changing environmental demands or situations. This affects the ability to attend and behave appropriately and interferes with learning.
Sensory diets provide the individual with the needed sensory input at regular intervals throughout the day to meet their sensory needs. It is optimal when these diets can be implemented in both the home and school setting. When developing a sensory diet the following systems should be examined: touch, vestibular, propricepitve, visual, auditory, smell, taste, body position and movement. In addition, consider the possible impact of allergies, GI issues, sleep patterns and nutrition. Therapists are encouraged to work with both families and school staff to help caregivers and educators learn how to implement a sensory diet. Ideally therapists can provide frequent and ongoing monitoring and adjustments of the individuals's sensory diet as needed. The critical features of a sensory diet include: